AT&T Inc, the largest wireline and wireless carrier in the US, has reported a 21.5% increase in first-quarter net profits to USD3.46 billion. Operating profit rose from USD4.66 billion to USD5.98 billion on revenues of USD30.74 billion, which were up 6.1% year-on-year. The growth was driven by AT&T’s wireless division, where sales were up 18.3% at USD11.83 billion and operating profit almost doubled to USD2.96 billion. The firm had 71.37 million cellular subscribers at the end of March, up from 62.22 million a year earlier. Average revenue per user (ARPU) was up slightly at USD50.18 a month. The growing popularity of mobile data services helped boost the division’s sales; data services revenues were up 57.3% y-o-y and now account for 21.5% of overall mobile service revenues. The carrier says that eleven million of its customers now have 3G devices, though how many of these actually use 3G services was not disclosed. Its UMTS/HSDPA network is now available in 272 metro markets across the US.
The picture was less rosy at AT&T’s wireline unit, where revenues fell 2% to USD17.62 billion and segment income was down 2.1% at USD2.83 billion. The number of access lines in service dropped 7.7% to 60.42 million, although strong growth was seen in the high speed internet sector, with the company claiming 14.65 million broadband subscribers at the end of March, up from 12.86 million a year before. AT&T’s U-verse IPTV service had attracted 379,000 customers by the same date and the telco says it is on track to reach its target of one million U-verse video customers by year-end.